Postwar photographers such as Ezra Stoller in New York and Julius Shulman in Southern California began working closely with mid-century architects, capturing the clean lines of modern buildings, and presenting them as progressive forms for ideal living enhanced by compelling landscapes and climates. Women photographers like Dorothea Lange and Berenice Abbott were also gaining attention through their anthropological and archaeological documentation.
In South Florida, Marion Post Wolcott, Samuel H. Gottscho, and Max Waldman – all outsiders – were leading the way in capturing the changing cities, buildings, and landscapes of the region in the 1930s and 1940s. Among local photographers, Gleason Waite Romer stood out as a formidable figure in South Florida and Cuba.
Building on the work of these predecessors, postwar photographers in South Florida such as Annette and Rudi Rada, Jan Hankowski, Joseph B. Brignolo, and Klara Farkas, among many others, helped shape a vision of the built environment that coincided with the building boom that radically transformed the region into “The Capital of Vacationland.”
The paradox of all this new tourism of course was that the natural landscape that drew people to the region in the first place, was transformed into a commercially conceived vision of an ideal landscape, a utopian paradise with a comprehensive faith in technology, construction, and what John Dos Passos described so clearly in his 1936 book, The Big Money, as the dark side that underlined the pursuit of the American dream.
About the Speaker
Victor Deupi is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Miami School of Architecture. His research focuses on the Early Modern Spanish and Ibero-American world, mid-20th-century Cuba, and contemporary architecture. His books include Architectural Temperance: Spain and Rome, 1700-1759 (Routledge, 2015), Transformations in Classical Architecture: New Directions in Research and Practice (Oscar Riera Ojeda Publishers, 2018), Emilio Sanchez in New York and Latin America (Routledge, 2020), and Cuban Modernism: Mid-Century Architecture 1940-1970, with Jean-Francois Lejeune (Birkhäuser Verlag, 2021). Dr. Deupi was the President of the CINTAS Foundation from 2016-2018 and is currently the President of the DOCOMOMO US Florida Chapter.